Two Fairbanks races will garner the state’s attention on Tuesday. The race for House District 1 between Republican Bart LeBon and Democrat Kathryn Dodge (top) and the Senate District A race between Democrat Scott Kawasaki (bottom left) and Republican Senate President Pete Kelly (bottom right) could be decided by absentee and question ballots. (Composite photo)

Two Fairbanks races will garner the state’s attention on Tuesday. The race for House District 1 between Republican Bart LeBon and Democrat Kathryn Dodge (top) and the Senate District A race between Democrat Scott Kawasaki (bottom left) and Republican Senate President Pete Kelly (bottom right) could be decided by absentee and question ballots. (Composite photo)

Thousands more ballots to be counted Tuesday

New tally could decide two key Fairbanks races for control of the Legislature

The Alaska Division of Elections will count thousands of absentee and question ballots Tuesday, possibly deciding the outcome of two Fairbanks legislative races that may determine the balance of power in the Alaska Legislature.

In House District 1, which covers downtown Fairbanks, Republican Bart LeBon leads Democrat Kathryn Dodge by 67 votes. In Senate District A, which covers House districts 1 and 2, Republican Senate President Pete Kelly leads challenger Scott Kawasaki by 11 votes.

Those figures are as of Monday morning. Under the state’s normal ballot-counting schedule, a first round of additional ballots will be tallied Tuesday. Another round will come Friday, and a third and final round will come next Wednesday.

“I’m on pins and needles as we go through this process,” Dodge said by phone from Fairbanks.

She isn’t the only one: Across the state, Alaskans will be watching the counting with interest. At the end of Election Day, the former House Republican Minority appeared to control 21 seats in the 40-person Alaska House of Representatives. That’s the bare minimum needed to control the House, and it includes LeBon.

“The House is in the balance,” LeBon said by phone from Fairbanks. “If Kathryn Dodge ends up winning, then it’s 20-20, and all bets are off. I’d say this is real important.”

The 20-member Senate is more firmly in the hands of a Republican-led majority, but if Kelly loses to Kawasaki, Democrats would hold seven seats in the body. If they join with moderate Republicans, the resulting coalition majority could have enough support to control the chamber.

“I can’t speak to that, but I can say a lot of people want change down in Juneau,” Kawasaki said from Fairbanks when asked if a coalition majority would follow his victory.

Kelly deferred comments until Friday, saying through a spokesman that he wants to await the results.

Preliminary figures for absentee votes favor the Republicans.

In House District 1, 177 of the 275 absentee ballots received through Election Day favored LeBon. In Senate District A, 502 absentee ballots were received through Election Day: 336 favored Kelly.

By phone, Kawasaki said that while absentee votes have favored Kelly, early votes have gone in his favor.

Figures from the Division of Elections show that of the 1,346 early votes cast before Election Day, 796 were for Kawasaki. Some “early votes” were cast at elections offices on Election Day (they receive that name because they were not cast at normal precinct polling places), and Kawasaki said he also expects to receive a majority of question ballots.

Senate District A includes Fort Wainwright, and a significant number of mailed-in absentee ballots may be included in the counts this week.

“There are so many people who have yet to vote, we want to make sure every vote counts,” he said. “Until those votes come in, we’re not ready to concede.”


• Contact reporter James Brooks at jbrooks@juneauempire.com or 523-2258.


More in News

Heather Best (in water), a USGS hydrologist, prepares to toss a road-grader blade with a river-measuring device attached into the Yukon River near Eagle, Alaska. USGS hydrologic technician Liz Richards watches for icebergs. (Courtesy Photo / Ned Rozell)
Alaska Science Forum: Wading into the icy Yukon River for science

EAGLE, ALASKA — Snow geese flew in a ragged V overhead, rasping… Continue reading

Public defender Nicolas Ambrose gestures during a trial centered around a 2019 stabbing May 19, 2022. (Michael S. Lockett / Juneau Empire)
Prosecution reconstructs events leading to fatal stabbing

Jurors watched multiple angles of the events leading and following the stabbing.

A sign marks the location of the Mendenhall Glacier Visitor Center. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire File)
Tourist dies near Mendenhall Glacier

The death is not considered suspicious.

Zuill Bailey performs a cello concert during a music cruise in Auke Bay on Saturday afternoon. (Courtesy Photo)
All that jazz returns to Juneau

Another ‘Classics’ in the books.

It's a police car until you look closely and see the details don't quite match. (Juneau Empire File / Michael Penn)
Police calls for Friday, May 20, 2022

This report contains public information from law enforcement and public safety agencies.

It's a police car until you look closely and see the details don't quite match. (Juneau Empire File / Michael Penn)
Police calls for Thursday, May 19, 2022

This report contains public information from law enforcement and public safety agencies.

It's a police car until you look closely and see the details don't quite match. (Juneau Empire File / Michael Penn)
Police calls for Wednesday, May 18, 2022

This report contains public information from law enforcement and public safety agencies.

Teaser
Judge orders board adopt interim redistricting map

The decision comes in a second round of redistricting challenges.

Smoke and steam rise from a coal processing plant in Hejin in central China’s Shanxi Province on Nov. 28, 2019. A study released on Tuesday, May 17, 2022, blames pollution of all types for 9 million deaths a year globally, with the death toll attributed to dirty air from cars, trucks and industry rising 55% since 2000. (AP Photo / Sam McNeil File)
Study finds global pollution kills 9 million people a year, study finds

Overall pollution deaths in 2019 were about the same as 2015, according to the study.

Most Read